Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment for depressive disorders: current knowledge and future directions

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2019 Sep;32(5):409-415. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000533.


Purpose of review: After three decades of clinical research on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), major depressive disorder (MDD) has proven to be the primary field of application. MDD poses a major challenge for health systems worldwide, emphasizing the need for improving clinical efficacy of existing rTMS applications and promoting the development of novel evidence-based rTMS treatment approaches.

Recent findings: Several promising new avenues have been proposed: novel stimulation patterns, targets, and coils; combinatory treatments and maintenance; and personalization and stratification of rTMS parameters, and treatment of subpopulations.

Summary: This opinion review summarizes current knowledge in the field and addresses the future direction of rTMS treatment in MDD, facilitating the establishment of this clinical intervention method as a standard treatment option and continuing to improve response and remission rates, and take the necessary steps to personalize rTMS-based treatment approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation* / methods
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation* / trends
  • Treatment Outcome